2018 NFL Draft: Getting to know interesting prospects from Chiefs local pro day

A closer look at (and interviews with) three interesting NFL Draft prospects from the Kansas City Chiefs local pro day.

Earlier this month, 26 former college football players showcased their talents at their respective positions for the Kansas City Chiefs’ coaching and training staff at the team’s pro day. Each player hopes to have generated enough interest in order to hear their name called over draft weekend—or at least earn a minicamp invite.

Among the dozens of NFL hopefuls, there were a few interesting prospects, however, that I felt should be recognized. We were able to talk to three of them in short interviews about their pro day performance and hopes for making the Chiefs.

Juante Baldwin, CB, Pittsburg State

Juante Baldwin was one of the defensive backs in attendance at the Chiefs’ local pro day, and I dug up anything and everything I could find on the cornerback. His highlights on his player profile are actually rather impressive. Baldwin could add some needed depth to the Chiefs cornerbacks as more of a heavy hitter, and I could see him being decent in the future. To say the least, I was impressed by what I saw from him. He shows a willingness to win, and a genuine love for the sport.

What type of cornerback do you consider yourself? Big hitter, playmaker, ball hawk, or anything else you’d like to tell me?

I consider myself a man-to-man, finesse cornerback.

Do you have any memorable plays or games in your career that you’d like to share?

Most memorable play was forcing the fumble against NW Missouri State to keep them out of the end zone that drive to tie the game, in which we won.

What would it mean for you to have a career in the NFL, more specifically with the Chiefs?

It would mean the world to me. I’ve spent the last decade trying to prove myself right. I’ve done an unimaginably amount of work physically, as well as, psychologically trying to prepare myself for these upcoming weeks.

How do you feel your pro day performance was?

I felt my pro day went well. I did some good things and I felt my measurements were ideal for my position. I have elite sprinter speed, and an NFL skill set and I felt that they may have recognized that. I felt fluid and athletic during the workout.

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Zach Hannon, OL, Kansas

I was able to gather a few highlights on this beast of a man, Zach Hannon, and his athleticism is very impressive, especially given his size. Offensive linemen are becoming more and more athletic at the NFL level which bodes well for Hannon.

As a senior, he played in 10 games, starting 5 at right tackle and 1 at center. There’s no doubt that he could add some beef on the Chiefs’ offensive line. Although it’s a long shot, I definitely see potential in him.

What type of lineman do you consider yourself? More of an athletic, mobile type; or a big-bodied strength blocker?

I used to consider myself more of a wide shoulder, bi- bodied type of O-lineman until I got moved to tackle at KU. When I was moved out to the outside, I realized that even though I was probably one of the shorter tackles on the Big 12 at 6’3”, my athletic ability allowed me to do well. I attribute a lot of my athleticism and footwork to the years I spent playing lacrosse. It also helped a lot with eye-hand coordination, which is extremely useful for effective punches off of the line.

Do you have any memorable plays or games in your career that you’d like to share?

There are a couple games that stick out throughout my football career. My first career start against West Virginia will always be very memorable to me. I graded out well in that game which really gave me a huge boost of confidence from there out.

Another game that sticks out to me is our game against TCU this past season. The Wednesday before the game, my coaches told me that I’d be switching from tackle to center for that game. It was a great experience to switch positions on a short notice, and I really enjoyed playing center.

I also really enjoyed the experience of playing at Texas; the environment there was great. During my time at Nebraska, I was more of a special teams guys, but I had a great experience playing there and playing at places like Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan State.

What would it mean for you to have a career in the NFL, more specifically with the Chiefs?

A career in the NFL would absolutely be a dream come true for me, especially for the Chiefs. I am a Kansas City native and grew up a huge Chiefs fan. My parents had season tickets until I was in the 6th grade. Getting a chance to play for any NFL team would be a huge blessing. An opportunity like this is an incredible experience and I can’t thank God enough for putting me in a position to even be thought of as an NFL prospect.

How do you feel your pro day performance was?

I definitely feel like I could’ve ran faster and repped out a couple more reps on bench for my pro day; however, I was extremely satisfied with how my OL drills went. I was able to talk to a couple scouts just based off of how the drills went. I was also satisfied with jumping a 28″ vertical. All in all, I know I could be better in certain areas, but I was overall satisfied with the day and am thankful to all of the scouts who came out to watch us compete.

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Jayson Rhodes, OL, Kansas

Jayson Rhodes is a very interesting prospect. After watching his collegiate highlights during his time playing for Kansas, I was impressed. He literally bulldozes people over on the field, and I think there’s a lot of unrecognized talent in Jayson.

What’s interesting to me, though, is the sheer fact that he isn’t just a heavy hitter. I mean, he packs a huge punch, but he’s also pretty mobile. He can get up and go.  I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll see himself on an NFL roster.

After watching your Kansas highlights, to say I was impressed is an understatement. What type of lineman would you describe yourself? More of a big-bodied strength blocker, or an athletic, mobile type?

I feel like I’m more of a big-bodied bully kind of player. I’m athletic enough to get down the field but I pride myself on being a guy that can take the will away from people.

Do you have any memorable plays or games in your career that you’d like to share?

The 2016 game against Texas was one of my most memorable, when me and Poona Ford battled the entire game. The 2016 game against Oklahoma St was also very memorable; it was the best overall game I’ve played.

What would it mean for you to have a career in the NFL, more specifically with the Chiefs?

Growing up I’ve always wanted to play in the NFL. Coming to the the University of Kansas has made me appreciate the Chiefs even more, so it would be a dream come true to play for them.

How do you feel your pro day performance was?

I felt okay about my pro day performance. I didn’t sleep a ton the night before, so my speed numbers were a little off; but I felt that I left it all out there.

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There were several interesting prospects that I wasn’t able to land an interview with. In all honesty, there is some pretty raw and hidden talent in them. Here are some of the prospects I felt I should give an honorable mention to, of which are based on their highlights and other information I was able to gather.

Honorable Mentions

Ishmail Wainright, TE (Baylor)

Mitch Lochbihler, Punter (K-State)

Sean Newlan, Safety (K-State)

Eric Beisel, Linebacker (Missouri)

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